Story

In the early 1990’s, David Gormley was an owner of several fan shops, called Pro Image Sports, in the San Diego area. He was constantly battling other stores in the malls where he was located. He quickly learned that to increase sales, and create a loyal following, you had to carry product that was different. David saw that the headwear industry was lacking what the NCAA customers wanted. Everything was very similar. David saw this void in the headwear market, and began to create domestically manufactured hats through DeLong, a manufacturer in Iowa. At a trade show, David met an overseas manufacturer where he first learned about overseas production. Soon he met Mr. Han, a Korean man working for a manufacturing factory in Korea. They exchanged info, and soon Mr. Han left his job and started his own manufacturing operation. Now partners, David received the first samples from Mr. Han, and later said, “When I received the first sample from Korea, I sort of had an epiphany. I knew what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I knew what I had to do.” Shortly thereafter, David officially started Zephyr while still owning the Pro Image franchises. He started to sell his new hats out of his stores exclusively. Because the hats were so different than any that the other mall stores had, they sold very well. He quickly gained confidence that he could succeed with Zephyr.

David sold his Pro Image stores, moved to Minnesota, and started Zephyr full-time out of his Brother-in-law's basement. David hit the pavement and started selling Zephyr hats. Each order that came in dwarfed the previous one. First 1,200, then 3,600, then 8,800, then 25,000, then 64,000. The customization and the innovative designs were keys to Zephyr's success. (One example was that Zephyr was the first company to change the color of the eyelets on a hat) Zephyr was growing rapidly. Soon David moved the “Sales Division” to Colorado, while the rest of the company stayed in Minnesota. As Zephyr grew, the company slowly trickled down to Colorado where they currently are today; with Jim (David's Brother-in-law/CFO/Owner) still in Minnesota with a couple other financial employees.

At the beginning David brought on his brother (Wes) and Jim's son (James) as owners of the company. Zephyr grew to the largest it has ever been in the early 2000s with the DH (Zephyr’s curved bill, fitted hat) and the Sport cap leading the way. One of the big reasons Zephyr grew so quickly was because Zephyr stocked college fitted hats when no one else was willing to do so. Soon Zephyr gained the NHL license to start selling professional league headwear. These two leagues, NCAA and NHL, along with the NBA, are the primary leagues that Zephyr still sells today.

Today David and Jim still maintain ownership of Zephyr. They focus on maintaining a family culture. The future is bright for Zephyr.